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Workplace Tips for OSHA Ladders & Safety During National Safety Month

July 16, 2012

The National Safety Council (NSC) has declared June National Safety Month and each year they designate a safety focus for each week.  Their goal is to make extra awareness and educate the general public in order to prevent further injuries.  Some of the topics they focus on are employee wellness, workplace ergonomics, preventing slips, trips, and falls, and safe driving practices.  The NSC website serves as a valuable resource for industry professionals and employers, as well as individuals looking for general safety information.

Five safety tips that have been outlined by the NSC correlate directly with the highest number of incidents.  They include musculoskeletal disorder prevention, confined space hazards, pedestrian visibility, ladder safety, and heat exhaustion.  Dehydration and heat stress are easily overlooked when considering injury prevention, but it is essential to take regular water breaks and stay hydrated while working in direct sunlight, extreme heat conditions, as well as indoor environments.

Investing in ergonomic equipment is essential when workers are using the same space for 8 or more hours a day.  If the environment is designed appropriately to accommodate the user’s needs, there will be a visible reduction in worker fatigue and an increase in productivity will result.  Musculoskeletal injuries and strains can result from improper surface heights, keyboard and mouse use, as well as repeated extended reach to inappropriate heights.

Before entering a manhole, a best practice is to exercise OSHA’s “test, purge, and ventilate” routine to ensure that the space is free of combustible gases and has a sufficient amount of oxygen, atmospheric hazards are not visible to the human eye. Wearing high visibility clothing is also crucial to workers who work around equipment and near roadways.  Devastating incidents happen too frequently; in 2010 – 220 workers were struck and killed by a vehicle according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Prevent the incidents from occurring by ensuring you and your equipment are highly visible before entering work zones where this would be a concern.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that approximately 65,000 workers go to the hospital annually as a result of ladder-related accidents.  Before using a ladder, users should inspect it each time for damage such as broken rungs, missing bolts, corrosion, and ensure that it is on level ground if it is not fixed.  The OSHA standard 1926.1053(a)(6)(i) states that “the rungs and steps of fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991, shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize slipping.”

When considering improvements to your current safety plan and updating to meet standards, you may want to add slip resistance to the surface of your ladder rungs, work platforms, flooring, and more.  If you want to install OSHA ladders you may consider SlipNOT®’s metal safety products.  Another solution to consider is ladder rung covers that can transform your ladder into a safety ladder.

Walter, Laura. “National Safety Month: 5 Tips for a Safer Work Force.” EHS Today. N.p., 18 June 2012. Web. 27 June 2012. <http://ehstoday.com/safety/news/5-safety-tips-0618/>.

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